Four pillars of a successful digital transformation in telecom
March 09, 2023
What are the important aspects of digital transformation
With fast-paced technological advancements and changing customer preferences, telecom service providers worldwide have acknowledged the importance of digital transformation on their roadmaps. To be successful and stay competitive in the market, operators need to embrace digital excellence in four critical aspects, i.e. customer experience (CX), business, operations, and processes.
By embracing digital excellence and next-generation techniques like automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), operators can revolutionize how businesses run and achieve their ultimate business goals of efficiency, customer value, innovation, and revenue.
When implemented correctly, digital transformation benefits both operators and their customers. These are some examples:
- Streamlined operations using process automation
- Swift service innovation to meet evolving customer demands and differentiate from competitors
- Lower operational costs and overheads
- Reduced time to market for new services
- Digital-first customer experience (CX)
- New revenue streams and full monetization of digital services
- Increased sales conversions and simplified onboarding
- Readiness for the next-gen networks
How can operators ensure a successful digital transformation?
A successful digital transformation means operators need to ensure reinvention across the full gamut of network functionalities. These can be broadly classified into four categories: CX excellence, operational excellence, process excellence, and business excellence.
I. CX excellence
Launch and monetize digital services
Operators need to remember that CX is everything. Customers today have increasingly digital lifestyles. Shopping, staying in touch with friends and family, working with remote teams, studying, managing finances: people do pretty much everything online. They expect their service providers to keep up and make this easy for them. Plus, 5G opens endless possibilities of CX-focused use cases, all of which require modern and robust network infrastructure. A modern and advanced digital BSS lets operators fully monetize unique and differentiated innovative next-gen services such as smart homes, buildings, cities; autonomous vehicles; entertainment and media experiences such as AR/VR; and much more.
Improve customer relationship management
Digitizing CX involved a lot more than just delivering, managing, and monetizing services. Operators must find ways to increase customer engagement, create more upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and ensure that their support offers can swiftly resolve customer issues. They can streamline all these activities by implementing a digital customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
With a digital CRM along with a host of other customer relation-enhancing applications such as mPOS, and enterprise self-service (ESS), operators can add value at all stages of the customer lifecycle, including sales and support, for retail subscribers and enterprise customers. They can automate workflows and introduce AI/ML techniques to eliminate manual processes.
Deliver omnichannel experience
Customers today expect a consistent sales and support experience across channels, from the more conventional SMS and IVR to WhatsApp, Facebook, Alexa, and everything in between. Introducing omnichannel support lets operators provide seamless and personalized CX across various web, mobile, and social media platforms. Implementing NLP chatbots on these platforms helps ensure an always-on self-care experience. By enabling round-the-clock 24x7x365 availability for their customers with web and mobile self-care, they can empower customers to be self-reliant, helping them resolve most issues without having to dial into a call center or visit a physical store. The result is lesser churn and lower operational expenses.
Digitize the customer journey
Digital transformation works best when extended across the entire customer journey: digital onboarding, eKYC verification, and dispatching SIMs to the customer’s address help digitize customer acquisition. Next, Operators can offer personalized and contextual plans and offers based on the customer’s location, usage needs, and so on. They can also leverage data to gain insights into customer preferences to create innovative and personalized rewards programs, building customer loyalty and differentiating their brand in a crowded marketplace. Digital Transformation enables operators to launch fully automated zero-touch networks, requiring no physical touchpoints.
II. Operational excellence
Virtualize to scale instantly
An agile and virtualized network environment lets operators easily adapt to changing market dynamics and scale as needed, with no additional OPEX and CAPEX required. Virtualized network functions replace traditional hardware, taking a software-based approach to keep the network running smoothly.
Motivated by the success that enterprises have had with it, many operators today are implementing a virtualized core network, and those who haven’t should definitely have it on their roadmaps. Most modern BSS solutions are NFV-compliant, making it easy for operators to make the shift.
Deploy services rapidly
With digital enablement and virtualization, operators can introduce new and innovative services on the fly and reduce response time. This enables them to swiftly differentiate themselves from their competitors. Virtualization also reduces OPEX and eliminates the need for frequent hardware upgrades that tend to rack up the bills.
Implement 5G using 4G core
Another important benefit that virtualization enables is support for advanced 5G use cases. It helps support a much higher network by keeping pace with dynamically changing requirements of speed, latency, efficiency, reliability, and throughput.
III. Business excellence
Intelligent data insights
A key benefit of digitizing the network is being able to analyze customer data to gain detailed real-time insights into their behavior and usage needs. As these needs evolve, operators can personalize their services. Leveraging data helps to define both short- and long-term business objectives.
Modern digital BSS stacks like Alepo’s provide fully customizable reports that let operators segment customers based on the parameters they value most. Insights from these reports help create granular and personalized plans and offerings.
These insights also help target promotions and advertising to the relevant audience, which can be an important new revenue stream by way of third-party sponsorships.
Customers today engage far more on social media and chat platforms than they do with their service providers who tend to have traditional means for engagement. Operators looking to gain the most from their digitization activities can build a cross-industry partner ecosystem that offers more direct engagement platforms by integrating their services into the core offering. In effect, the operator can enrich CX without having to invest in building and managing a new service. A digital BSS integrated with an advanced partner management solution enables them to support these partnerships.
Accelerated monetization of use cases
A 5G-ready digital BSS stack lets telecom operators rapidly monetize the data network with innovative and personalized offerings, enhancing the digital experience for subscribers and improving customer loyalty. The elastic and convergent platform provides a network environment for CRM, convergent charging and billing, with REST APIs that offer the flexibility to quickly introduce a host of digital services with new billing models.
IV. Process excellence
Digital transformation means being able to integrate automation across all processes at every level. Automating workflows, backend processes, and business operations help reduce dependence on staff, eliminates errors caused by manual intervention, and consequently keeps operational costs low.
Streamline sales processes
Operators can reduce their workload, save time, and lower operational costs by setting up automation for sales processes to streamline the full sales life cycle. This includes automating emails, alerts, notifications, and more to centralize day-to-day operations, capture leads, manage databases, set reminders for follow-ups, and other tasks to manage the sales pipeline. In addition, data insights help enrich the sales process, helping predict business outcomes, identify leads more accurately, and improve conversions.
Centralized catalog management
A significant challenge that service providers face today is being able to launch and manage services – especially with the growing list of use cases owing to the introduction of 5G, IoT, AR/VR, and more. Implementing a digital BSS with a centralized product catalog helps address this concern.
With a common product repository, service providers can swiftly introduce new services to keep up with evolving customer demand. They can define granular metrics (volume, time, value, quality of service, and so on), enable support for multi-play offerings, and more. Partners and distributors, too, can easily collaborate to efficiently manage offers.
Efficient revenue management
Network transformation with a modern and advanced digital BSS helps operators ensure they can prevent revenue leaks and maximize their monetization potential. CSPs need real-time billing and policy control capabilities to seize and monetize opportunities that all-IP networks bring. With convergent charging, they can automate rates and charging for their customers. They can ensure accurate billing for their interconnect and roaming partners to accurately charge other operators for using their voice, SMS, data, and other network infrastructure. They can also support next-gen charging use cases such as surge charging when demand is high.
Digital transformation is crucial to improve CX and achieve business, operational, and process excellence. Advanced digital business support systems comprising digital CRM, omnichannel self-care, customer value management, innovative billing and charging, and more help operators differentiate themselves and their network offerings, while maintaining sophisticated customer experiences and higher revenue margins.
Do you want to take an essential first step by implementing a modern, 5G-ready, NFV-compliant digital BSS like Alepo’s? To get expert advice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President, Product Management